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RUSH: Wall Street Journal, Grace-Marie Turner: “Rick Santorum went for the jugular in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, exposing Mitt Romney’s weak and contradictory defense of his Massachusetts health-reform law. Mr. Santorum attacked Mr. Romney’s claim that the individual mandate affects only ‘the 8% of people who didn’t have insurance.’ Mr. Romney insisted that ‘92% of the people in my state had insurance before our plan went in place. And nothing changes for them.’ Mr. Santorum blasted back that ‘what Governor Romney said is just factually incorrect,’ because the mandate affects 100% of the residents who are forced to buy health insurance ‘as a condition of breathing in Massachusetts.'” And that was a salient point.

Romney tried to say it only affected 8%. No, it affects everybody in Massachusetts, everybody had to. “In an earlier debate, Newt Gingrich underscored the point when he described a Massachusetts couple fined $3,000 by the state.” Now, listen to this. I remember this, but this is true. This is factually correct. “Newt Gingrich underscored the point when he described a Massachusetts couple fined $3,000 by the state. They had health insurance, but it didn’t meet the state’s specifications. Lauren and Nick Destito had owned a tree and landscaping business for 25 years before the economy collapsed in 2008. They were forced to declare bankruptcy but still tried to abide by the state’s health-insurance mandate, purchasing a policy that cost them $750 a month.”

They still tried to abide by state law while filing for bankruptcy. “No dice — according to a government official, the amount of health insurance they can afford is determined ‘not, unfortunately, from your perspective but from the state agency’s view.'” You don’t get to determine what policy you buy based on what you think you can afford. You have to buy what we at the state tell you. “After garnering national attention for their plight, the couple won on appeal. Mr. Romney’s attempt to contrast his plan with Obamacare wasn’t convincing. ‘I don’t like the Obama plan,’ he said in Thursday’s debate. ‘His plan cuts Medicare by $500 billion. We didn’t, of course, touch anything like that. He raises taxes by $500 billion. We didn’t do that.’

“These are bogus boasts: States have no authority over cuts in the federal Medicare program, so cutting Medicare never was an option with Romneycare. Massachusetts didn’t raise taxes to finance its plan because it relied on previously enacted health-insurance taxes and an infusion of federal Medicaid money to finance its coverage expansion. The state simply passed a big share of its costs to federal taxpayers.” Romney got to pass that along to taxpayers across the whole country. “Mr. Santorum challenged Mr. Romney on his claim that Romneycare is ‘very different than Obamacare,’ citing a new study that lists key features the two plans have in common, including the Medicaid expansion, an employer mandate and the individual mandate. The study is from the liberal Families USA, which credits John McDonough and explains he ‘was deeply involved’ in developing both Romneycare and Obamacare.”

This is one of Romney’s advisers that we have mentioned to you that went to the Oval Office to help Obama put together Obamacare after helping Romney write Romneycare. John McDonough. “Among the key checkpoints showing the similarities between the two plans –” Are you sitting down for this, folks? Are you? Look at me. I want you to listen to this. “Among the key checkpoints showing the similarities between the two plans: ‘Romneycare authorizes “tiers” of insurance coverage, which are called Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Young Adult.'”

Again, Romneycare authorizes tiers, t-i-e-r-s, levels of insurance coverage, and they’ve called them Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Young Adult. “Obamacare sets the following tiers for policies: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Young Adult.” They’ve even named the tiers in Obamacare after Romneycare, and they’ve added one called Platinum. “Government will specify which benefits must be included in health plans under both reform laws. Mr. McDonough earlier said the federal law is ‘Massachusetts with three more zeros.'”

McDonough, again, deeply involved in developing both Romneycare and Obamacare. “Mr. Romney repeatedly says he believes in state-level solutions. But when he says he wants to give states more discretion in implementing Obamacare, there is very little daylight between his position and President Obama’s. The president has said Congress should pass legislation to accelerate the provision in the law that would allow states more flexibility in implementing the health law starting in 2014. Mr. Santorum was passionate in insisting that Mr. Romney’s defense will collapse in a debate with President Obama, and the candidate would be wide open to attack. ‘Folks, we can’t give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom,’ he said.”

Remember, I thought that was crucial. I played that sound bite over and over again for you last week. “Mr. Romney has indeed backed himself into a corner,” says Grace-Marie Turner here, “by insisting on defending his health plan while attacking Obamacare. In the Oct. 11 debate at Dartmouth College, Mr. Romney said: ‘[W]e all agree about repeal and replace. And I’m proud of the fact that I put together a plan that says what I’m going to replace it with.'” Did you hear that?

He’s happy he put together a plan that says what he’s gonna replace Obamacare with. “Does he really mean…?” Asks Grace-Marie Turner, “Does he really mean that he wants to use Massachusetts as a model for his ‘replacement’ plan? No wonder voters are worried. “Unless Mr. Romney takes steps to conform his position with reality, he will have trouble convincing voters he is serious about repeal and will have an even harder time mapping a clear plan on health reform should he be elected president.” There you have it. She’s right. Basically what she’s saying is Santorum was right in his attack, if you will, on Romneycare.


RUSH: Here’s Linda in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I’m glad you waited, you’re up next on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, how are you? Thanks so much for taking my call. I love you.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: Hey, listen, I have listened to you for a long time, and I’ve taken all your teachings and I’ve chosen my candidate based upon them, and my candidate’s Rick Santorum. I think that he articulates conservatism like no other. I switched to him when I saw him speak in his Iowa caucus win, and it was a beautiful conservative speech. I mean even Al Hunt’s recent article refers to it. And one of the things he talked about was how he stuck to his principles. He went out to those voters in Pennsylvania, and he got them to come across to him. They crossed the aisle to him. It was a 60% to 70% Democratic district. And that’s something you’ve always talked about, how Reagan did that. I don’t believe that Romney’s done that at all in Massachusetts. I think he has actually done the opposite.

He talked about conservatism beautifully. I think it was one of the last questions in his Thursday debate when he talked about how the Constitution was the rule book and how it’s there to protect the Declaration of Independence, which talks about our rights are from God and not from government. I think that was beautifully articulated. Another thing he does that you’re always talking about, you mentioned it earlier this week, you talked about a family of four that makes $60,000 a year has no expendable income. And Rick’s been talking about this, about the family unit, and this is what’s so beautiful about him. You know, people may criticize Rick, “Oh, he’s the social conservative and, no, we don’t want that,” but he takes social conservative, that part of it and ties it into the fiscal conservative issues.

He blends them together and he can help and explain to people why the family is so important to the fabric of our society and why we must get back to those issues revolving around families, because it’s those issues that are gonna make us strong again. I really think this guy is great, and I’m very disappointed in some of the people out there who haven’t had the guts to come out and support him. I think he’s wonderful. You know, when we talk about Reagan, being a Reaganesque person, you know, when Reagan went to the White House, he chose two things that he wanted to accomplish, just two. Getting the economy back, and defeating the Soviet Union. He wasn’t all over the place, and this idea and this, you know, going to the moon and these things. He focused, and we need a candidate who’s gonna focus like a laser beam on Obamacare. And I think Santorum, you saw it in that debate, he was focused. He has done excellent in all these debates —

RUSH: Okay. So tell me why he’s there at 13%.

CALLER: I don’t know. Help me out. I don’t know. I think if we had somebody that could come out and just, “Hey, this guy is great.”

RUSH: Yes, I knew that’s where this was headed. “Rush, why don’t you say you’re for Santorum? Why, you could push him over the top.” All the candidates have people asking me to do that. I have the greatest admiration for Santorum. He had a statement or debate, somebody, a think tank person, Brookings or whatever, something like three things — it might not have been Brookings, but some think tank — three things you could do that take care of income inequality, that take care of cultural rot, and they were all family-oriented type issues, and one of them was don’t have kids before you get married. It’s amazing when you look at the numbers of single-parent households, out of wedlock births. If you look at that definition, if you accept it as a sign of the disintegration of culture, the family breakup, it is amazing. Santorum is right.

You know, there’s a story. I’m not gonna mention a name here because I don’t want to… There’s a story of a football player who can’t get a gig, and you read the story here and it’s (summarized), “He’s always been an island of sorts. Brash personality, self-absorption. Made $80 million in his life and he’s broke. He’s broke. He’s got nothing. He’s in bad shape!” If you keep reading, then you find out he’s got four kids with four women. He owes child support. He doesn’t have the money. All four are suing him. It dovetails with what her point is and the point that Santorum talks about. (sigh) Does the NFL give you counseling, like does the NFL tell you wear a condom? I don’t know.


RUSH: I want to take you back to 2008. This is Austin, Texas. This is a Democrat presidential debate, February 21st, and this is Senator Barack Obama. Senator Barack Obama in February of ’08 during the Democrat campaign in the debate talking about health care reform.

OBAMA 2008: When Senator Clinton says “a mandate,” it’s not a mandate on government to provide health insurance; it’s a mandate to individuals to purchase it. Massachusetts has a mandate right now. They have exempted 20% of the uninsured because they’ve concluded that that 20% can’t afford it. In some cases, they’re people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine. In order for you to force people to get health insurance, you’ve got to have a very harsh, stiff penalty.

RUSH: Now, how do you read this? How do you hear that? Think of the irony! Back in 2008, during a Democrat primaries, Obama is railing against the individual mandate in Massachusetts while Romney and Gingrich both supported it, as did Hillary. He was taking on Hillary, remember, and Hillary was for an individual mandate. Here’s Obama. “When Senator Clinton says ‘a mandate,’ it’s not a mandate on government to provide health insurance; it’s a mandate to individuals to purchase it,” and he doesn’t like it. He’s telling us he opposes it. Then he goes on to cite what’s happening in Massachusetts. They got a mandate. “They have exempted 20% of the uninsured because they’ve concluded that that 20% can’t afford it.

“In some cases, they’re people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it so now they’re worse off than they were,” and this is the guy that’s going to be debating Romney. This… What…? What…? At the very least the irony here. “Senator Clinton has said that we won’t go after their wages. Now, this is a substantive difference but understand both of us seek to get universal health care. I have a substantive difference with Senator Clinton on how to get there.” He doesn’t agree with the mandate, but he put one in. You know, I don’t think… Frankly, I’ve always thought that health care bill was written in somebody’s drawer in Congress, and Obama never really knew specifically what was in it and he didn’t care because what he knew that it led to was national health care in five or ten years.

It was gonna close the private insurance market, it was gonna force people to get their insurance from the government. That’s all they cared about. The minutia, the details, whether they had a mandate or not, he couldn’ta cared less. During the campaign, as he’s trying to distinguish himself from Hillary, she’s for it; therefore, he’s gotta be against it. He’s gotta rip it. He cites Massachusetts, how it’s unfair and not working four years ago. At the same time, Gingrich was talking about the virtues of it, and Romney was ’cause it was his idea in Massachusetts. Santorum has never been for a mandate. He never has. The story last week is incorrect.

We’ve got audio. He was opposed to it. Santorum’s never been for a mandate. Everybody running in this campaign has, at one time or another, either instituted a mandate or has said they’re for it. Everybody, Democrat or Republican, except for Santorum. Every one of them. What do you think of that? Can I say “establishment” to you? Don’t give me this “outsider” garbage. Establishment. Can I say that to you? Again: Every candidate running for office this year has either instituted a mandate or has been in favor of it. (interruption) I didn’t say they’re all dirty. If you want to conclude that, put it in your own words, H.R. I’m just pointing it out. Anthony Weiner, Tony Weiner, wrote a lot of the health care bill that was in the drawer that they pulled out of there when Obama started going for it.


RUSH: One year ago today, Judge Roger Vinson (who was the first to rule against Obamacare) wrote, “I note that in 2008 then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include a mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating: ‘If a mandate was the solution, then we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.'” That was one year ago today. Obama was cited as opposing a mandate that is in his health care bill.

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